Fresh Ink is a festival of three curated readings of developing plays. The first of the series, Alison Quigan's Siana, will be performed on the 13th May. Before Siana makes its debut this Sunday, Quigan took a moment to talk about the play, New Zealand theatre and what she's hoping to get out of Fresh Ink as a playwright.
What inspired Siana?
Five years ago I started working at Auckland Council. I thought I was just working for a small Council run theatre in South Auckland but I discovered I was one of over 10,000 employees in a huge corporation. I discovered the world of Glide Time and The Office alive in South Auckland. Unwieldy, unforgiving and frustrating. I also discovered a wealth of culture and engagement in arts, where arts are part of every day life without being self conscious or contrived. In particular, I discovered young people beginning their careers in performing arts. New voices and new beginnings. The play started out as my reaction to Council processes and then my interest deepened when I got to know the people. The amazing thing about this Arts Centre is that it is there specifically for this community. This is diversity in action. These are people whose culture is new to me but whose values I share. Family, food and a sense of humour.
Who is Siana for?
It's for New Zealanders who would like to see our future and our past. People who want to see the many faces of us. People who see what joins us and not what keeps us apart.
Why do you think New Zealand theatre is important?
The role of theatre is to show the audience they are not alone. As New Zealanders we must tell our stories, reinforce our lifestyles, our sense of humour and our language.
What’s the hardest part of writing a play?
The hardest part? Beginning is hard. Ending is harder.
What do you think audiences will like most about Siana?
I think they will like the people. I think they'll be charmed by them
What are you hoping to get out of Fresh Ink?
I want to see what works on the floor and where the gaps are in the story. I like to set challenges for the actors so that it isn't about talking heads. I like to add music and dance and singing so that the audience is given something they can't see on the telly or at the movies.
Fresh Ink begins this Sunday, 13th May at 4pm with a reading of Siana. This will be followed by Karen Zelas' The Falling on the 20th May at 4pm and Joe Musaphia's The Sexiest Man in the World on the 27th May at 4pm. You can find out more and buy tickets here.